The job search can feel overwhelming, so it’s helpful to break it into manageable steps. The good news is you don’t have to do every step in order. For example, you can start working on your resume before you identify what you want to do. Just start checking off as many of these activities as you can, and you’ll find yourself on the way to a great opportunity.

You can receive assistance for every one of these steps through the UMF Career Services. And you don’t have to do it all during business hours—start by checking our web site at for lots of links and helpful information.

Step 1: Know yourself.

  • I have identified my personal strengths, skills, interests, and values. (How?)
  • I have made a list of possible job titles/fields of interest. (How?)
  • I can name two or three careers/jobs I plan to pursue. (How?)

Step 2: Know where you want to work.

  • I have researched organizations or companies that might hire someone with my skills, interests, and background. (How?)
  • I have researched potential career fields: typical entry-level jobs, typical salaries, best geographic location for jobs, etc. (How?)
  • I have identified the top three geographic areas where I’d like to live and work.
  • I have identified 10 potential employers for the type of work I’m seeking.

Step 3: Get ready for the search.

  • I have registered with the UMF Career Services. (Call 778-7034 to make an appointment)
  • I have had my resume and cover letter(s) reviewed by a professional in the field or a staff member at Career Services.
  • I have prepared a portfolio or work samples to highlight my experience, skills, and talent. (How?)
  • I have developed my “30-second speech” for short encounters with employers. (How?)
  • I have analyzed my education and developed my “liberal arts story” for employers. (How?)
  • I have identified three individuals who will serve as references. (How?)
  • I have developed my interview skills by practicing my responses to typical questions and/or doing a mock interview. (How?)
  • I have an interview suit that is appropriate for the field in which I plan to work. (How?)
  • I have a professional-sounding answering machine/voice mail message in case an employer calls.
  • I have neutral/professional e-mail address to give to employers.

Step 4: Start searching.

  • I regularly check the Career Services web site for career opportunities. I read the appropriate job-search resources for my field(s) of interest.
  • I have a system for keeping track of my contacts, interviews, and other job-search activities.
  • I follow up on every interesting job link immediately.
  • I have developed a list of potential networking contacts and keep in touch with them.
  • I keep a copy of my resume next to my phone in case I receive a call from an employer.
  • I follow-up each cover letter with a phone call or e-mail.
  • I send thank you letters or e-mails to every person who interviews me.

Adapted with permission from Dr. Kate Brooks, Liberal Arts Career Services, The University of Texas at Austin.